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Abstract

Based on a wide cross section of Tibetan and Greco-Arab medical sources, Henk Blezer argues that the articulations of the, apparently, novel category of “brown phlegm” disorders in Tibetan medicine may derive from an earlier Greco-Arab prototype of “black bile” disorders, particularly those of the hypochondriac subtype (that is, melancholia pertaining to the viscera below the sternal cartilage of the ribs, or in this case the diaphragm). The article builds on his earlier hypothesis, yet to be conclusively argued, that Tibetan canonical descriptions of “brown phlegm” disorders seem to show signs of a confluence or, perhaps, even a clash of “humoral” systems that seem to pertain to different medical epistemes (Greco-Arab and Indo-Tibetan in origin). He posits a plausible trajectory of development in the construction of “brown phlegm” disorders in Tibet, where treatises that presumably have developed later, eventually, seem to set the “brown phlegm” disorders apart as a so-called “combined disease” (that is a category of diseases in which several noxious substances, the so-called “humors”, appear together). Lastly, on a more speculative vein, the author addresses relevant surviving indications, if not traces, in Tibetan historical narratives for Greco-Arab influence on Tibetan medicine.

In: Knowledge and Context in Tibetan Medicine
Author:

Abstract

Based on a wide cross section of Tibetan and Greco-Arab medical sources, Henk Blezer argues that the articulations of the, apparently, novel category of “brown phlegm” disorders in Tibetan medicine may derive from an earlier Greco-Arab prototype of “black bile” disorders, particularly those of the hypochondriac subtype (that is, melancholia pertaining to the viscera below the sternal cartilage of the ribs, or in this case the diaphragm). The article builds on his earlier hypothesis, yet to be conclusively argued, that Tibetan canonical descriptions of “brown phlegm” disorders seem to show signs of a confluence or, perhaps, even a clash of “humoral” systems that seem to pertain to different medical epistemes (Greco-Arab and Indo-Tibetan in origin). He posits a plausible trajectory of development in the construction of “brown phlegm” disorders in Tibet, where treatises that presumably have developed later, eventually, seem to set the “brown phlegm” disorders apart as a so-called “combined disease” (that is a category of diseases in which several noxious substances, the so-called “humors”, appear together). Lastly, on a more speculative vein, the author addresses relevant surviving indications, if not traces, in Tibetan historical narratives for Greco-Arab influence on Tibetan medicine.

In: Knowledge and Context in Tibetan Medicine
Editor:
The proceedings of the seminars of the International Association for Tibetan Studies (IATS) have developed into the most representative world-wide cross-section of Tibetan Studies. They are an indispensable reference-work for anyone interested in Tibet and capture the cutting edge of Tibet-related research.
This volume is the second of three volumes of general proceedings of the Ninth Seminar of the IATS.
It presents a careful selection of scholarly and academic articles on Tibetan Buddhist and Bon religious culture, including a sizeable section of anthropological contributions.
The complete series covers ten volumes. The other seven volumes are the outcome of expert panels. Of special interest to readers of this book are the edited volumes by Katia Buffetrille & Hildegard Diemberger (anthropology: territory and identity), Helmut Eimer & David Germano (Buddhist canon), Toni Huber (anthropology: Amdo cultural revival), Christiaan Klieger (anthropology: presentation of self & identity), and Deborah Klimburg-Salter and Eva Allinger (art history).
Editor:
The proceedings of the seminars of the International Association for Tibetan Studies (IATS) have developed into the most representative world-wide cross-section of Tibetan Studies. They are an indispensable reference-work for anyone interested in Tibet and capture the cutting edge of Tibet-related research.
This volume is the first of three volumes of general proceedings of the Ninth Seminar of the IATS. It presents a careful selection of scholarly and academic articles on Tibetan history, which includes contemporary developments as well as a compact, but significant, linguistic section.
The complete series covers ten volumes. The other seven volumes are the outcome of expert panels. Of special interest to readers of this book may be the edited volumes by Christopher Beckwith (linguistics), Helmut Eimer and David Germano (Buddhist canon), Lawrence Epstein (Khams pa history), Deborah Klimburg-Salter (art history) and the third volume of the general proceedings (Bhutan and art history).
In: Challenging Paradigms
In: Challenging Paradigms